Gabriel Orozco on show at the Tate Modern

8 Jan

Later this month Tate Modern will open its doors for a retrospective of Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco, the largest presentation of his work in the UK to date. Although Orozco is globally acknowledged as a gifted sculptor, this exhibition of over 80 works will also showcase the artist’s photography, drawing and painting.

A modified Citroen DS in La DS 1993

Orozco is known for his experimentation with both man made and natural objects. His alteration of the classic Citroen DS car to create La DS 1993, which features in the exhibition, is an early example of Orozco’s love of manipulating physical objects to produce something new. He sliced the car into thirds and removed the centre to exaggerate its streamlined design. But the most famous and striking of Orozco’s works is Black Kites 1997, a human skull on which Orozco drew a checkerboard pattern to create an unnerving memento mori, bound to turn heads at the Tate Modern.

Black Kites 1997

The exhibition’s curator, Jessica Morgan, has been following Orozco’s art since the two lived in New York in the early 1990s. She said: “Gabriel Orozco is an artist we have a long relationship with. Orozco’s work is playful as well as thought provoking and we hope the visitors will be as captivated by his limitless imagination as we have been over his two decades of work.”

Many claim that no two works by Orozco look the same. He has been described as an artistic nomad, having travelled extensively and lived in various places, Mexico City, Madrid, Costa Rica, New York and Paris, constantly refusing to be categorised by the artistic trends of any movement. This exhibition promises to reflect Orozco’s itinerant life from Yielding Stone 1992, a plasticine ball equal to Orozco’s body weight which he rolled through the streets of New York, gathering elements of the city’s detritus as it went, to his photography capturing quick moments in time such as ripples in a puddle.

Gabriel Orozco with his structure 'Four Bicycles 1994'

Speaking in an interview with the Telegraph last month, Orozco hinted that this perpetual journey might be the key to his success as an artist. “For me, it’s important to move, and to leave my work exposed to things I don’t know. For each project I do something different. I make things – provisional things – and the only thing that is consistent is that I travel on my own and do things on my own.”

Born in 1962 in the Mexican province of Veracruz, Orozco grew up in a creative family as his mother was a classical pianist and his father, a communist, painted murals in the tradition of Mexican artists such as José Clemente Orozco, no relation to Gabriel, and Diego Rivera. But, just as Orozco would later shy away from other artistic movements, he rejected the typical surrealism of Mexican art as seen in the works of Frida Kahlo. “I was very tired of this image of Mexico as a Surrealist country. Mexican culture is permeated by this exoticism of reality – which I don’t find to be true, and is not important to me. I find Surrealism boring.”

The exhibition will run from 19 January to 25 April 2011, open every day. Admission is £10 (Concessions £8.50)

Image 1: Lookintomyowl

Image 2: Telegraph

Image 3: Daylife

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